Why PAU engages in practice-oriented teaching, research
Professor of Business Ethics and Vice Chancellor, Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Juan Elegido, in this interview with UJUNWA ATUEYI, spoke on efforts at building a world-class university, and why institutions must be close to relevant industries, and the imperative of lecturers having industry experience.
How is Pan-Atlantic University coping with the lean resources and forex scarcity in the country?
This is a very important issue for us. We are very clear that we want to build a world-class university and that it would be a huge mistake for us to react to the current economic situation in the country by lowering the standards of our faculty, buildings or equipment. Instead, what we have chosen to do, in accordance with our philosophy, is to save money by growing more slowly, rather than by skimping in the programmes we decide to start.
How are you guarding against this phenomenon of rising unemployable graduates?
We give our students first-class education, that is to say, an education with low class numbers, frequent personal reports and team projects, dedicated lecturers and personalised attention to each student. On top of this, we make sure that they have close contact with industry from day one, by bringing many industry and professional leaders to interact with them, and by offering to our students, internship opportunities every year, from the beginning of their stay in our university.
What is PAU’s biggest selling point?
For now, both at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels, we are concentrating on offering programmes in professional fields. Professional courses are very different from programmes in the arts, or in the physical and social sciences. Offering them at a very high level of quality requires deploying a practice-oriented style of teaching and doing research. Above all, it demands being close to the relevant industries and professions. Pan-Atlantic University has developed the required contacts, skills and values over many years of experience in offering professional development programmes to many business executives and communication professionals and this is what makes us special.
How would you describe the quality of faculty members of PAU?
I think it is very high. First, they are doing first class research as anybody can see through our annual reports, which are available on our website. I would stress in this regard how many of their papers are published in internationally indexed journals. Secondly, they are truly dedicated to teaching; we put a lot of emphasis on this and you will not find in Pan-Atlantic University, lecturers for whom the time devoted to their students is an unwelcome distraction from other pursuits. Finally, many of them have industry experience or at least are actively engaged with industry in different ways such as doing consultancy work, writing case studies and doing executive education.
What are you doing differently to become a leading university in Africa?
In our university, it is an essential aspect of our culture to take care of all details. We do not expect to become a leading university in Africa just by having some great ideas, but are aware that excellence is the result of painstaking and persevering work.
What is the accreditation status of your institution?
All our programmes are accredited.
As vice chancellor of PAU, how has it been directing the affairs of the university?
When I became vice-chancellor of Pan-Atlantic University (at that time, under a different name) I had the great luck that the units of the university, i.e., the Lagos Business School (LBS), the School of Media and Communication (SMC), and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) had already been working for quite some time and established a first-class reputation for themselves. Obviously, this made my task much easier, especially because from the beginning of our undergraduate programmes there were a large number of people who knew us and were ready to trust us.